New Mexico has a bitter gambling past. When the IGRA was passed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the American Indian casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the situation.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a task force in 1990 to negotiate a compact with New Mexico Native bands. When the panel came to an accord with 2 important local bands a year later, Governor King declined to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until 1994.
When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that American Indian wagering in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the contract with the American Indian bands, anti-wagering groups were able to tie the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the deal, thus costing the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.
It required the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the process moving on a full accord between the Government of New Mexico and its American Indian bands. A decade had been burned for gambling in New Mexico, which includes Amerindian casino Bingo.
The nonprofit Bingo business has increased since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico not for profit game providers acquired just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed one million dollars in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have grown constantly since that time. Two Thousand and Five saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.
Bingo is clearly favored in New Mexico. All sorts of operators try for a piece of the pie. Hopefully, the politicos are through batting over gambling as a hot button matter like they did back in the 1990’s. That is most likely hopeful thinking.